One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason. One of us scribes asked, “You could have used an ace down the stretch, is that something you would look to add from outside?”

To which the GM replied: “Unfortunately, aces or top-of-the-rotation starting pitching is the most rare commodity, whether it’s the trade market or free-agent market. And you look at this year’s free-agent market, there really isn’t one of those guys. Whether there’s going to be one in the trade market, I don’t know. But we recognize that that’s an area of need.”

Two or three days later, manager Fredi Gonzalez did an interview with MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, wherein the discussion came around to the Braves’ division-series loss and postseason teams that were still alive.

“All those teams that are in the playoffs now, they have a legit No. 1 guy, a top-of-the-rotation, No. 1 guy,” Gonzalez said. “I think potentially our guys could develop to that – (Julio) Teheran, (Mike) Minor and (Kris) Medlen – but I think to go deeper into the playoffs, I think you need an ace, you need a bona fide No. 1.

“That’s something that we’re going to look at and talk about in the (organizational) meetings. Easier said than done, because you’ve got trades and free-agent salaries and all that kind of stuff. But I think that’s what we’re missing. We’re missing a guy that’s going to be a horse for you.”

Eight weeks later we’re at the Winter Meetings, and the Braves are still hoping to add a starter, although they stopped talking about it being a potential ace-type of pitcher some time ago, about the time the price of free agents was soaring beyond all expectations and they couldn’t find a match on the trade market without giving up a bevy of top young talent.

Some fans cling to those “we need an ace” sentiments and hope the Braves are still being driven by that perceived postseason flaw. But it sure doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Not that they wouldn’t like to add one, but it’s not something they characterize these days as a need.

(A cynic could say at this point, it’s not a need anymore only because they aren’t willing to pay the price to fill it. But we’d have to find a cynic to say that…. Ha. Who are we kidding? We’re in the media work room at the Winter Meetings. As Geisler said to Fink in the great Coen Brothers film Barton Fink: “Throw a rock in here, you'll hit one. And do me a favor, Fink: Throw it hard.” Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes, pitching.

Since the postseason ended the Braves have lost their one veteran starter, Tim Hudson, to the Giants via free agency, and have not added another. At least not as of 1 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11.

They might add one and possibly soon, but those still holding out hope that it’ll be an ace might want to brace yourself. The Braves never planned to get involved in the potential David Price sweepstakes because they aren’t going to trade three or four (or more) top young players including elite pitching prospects to get two years of Price. An ace seems unlikely. Highly unlikely. And it has for some time now.